official photo of CDS,Gen. Irabor

Military High Command rules out mass retirement of Officers

* Highlights its operations of past two weeks

The Military high command has dispelled rumours about a likely mass retirement of Senior army officers with  the appointment of Major General Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff,

Major General Farouk Yahaya  a member of the 37 Regular Course of the prestigious Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA),was the appointed the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS), on May 27, following the death of Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru in an air  plane crash in Kaduna on May 21.

Late General Attahiru and several other serving army officers are products of Course 35. There are also many of them of Course  36 . Some media houses have speculated relying on precedent that all members of  courses 35 and 36 would be retired as it is unusual for them to serve under their young.

But, the military high command said on Thursday that  “no retirements has been authorized by the Military High Command”  and that the rumours about mass retirement was unfounded.

Speaking on Thursday in Abuja during a media briefing on the operational efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies between May 20th and June 2nd,  the Acting Director, Defence Media Operations,  Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko recalled that the appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff, Major General Farouk Yahaya has triggered the rumours.

” This has stirred up lot of rumours in the media about mass retirements in the military. I wish to use this medium to dispel such unfounded rumours.

“Retirement is only on voluntary basis for senior officers who desire to do so. At this point, no retirements has been authorized by the Military High Command,” he said.

On the military operations, Brigadier General Onyeuko  said that within the period in focus, troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria intensified their operational efforts in the fight against terrorism, banditry, hoodlums and militancy as well as other criminalities across all the geo-political zones of the Country.

Troops conducted series of clearance patrols, ambush, raid, picketing, cordon and search operations as well as artillery bombardments.
Others are anti-piracy, anti-illegal oil bunkering, anti-crude oil theft, anti-pipeline vandalism and anti-smuggling operations were also conducted within the period.

The troops also carried out extensive air operations, which included air patrols, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions, offensive air strikes, air interdictions, search and rescue operations as well as close air support for ground troops, all of which yielded appreciable results.

Specifically, the troops of Operation HADIN KAI between 20 May and 2 June 2021 carried out series of operational activities. They rescued kidnapped victims, neutralized scores of terrorists, destroyed terrorists’ enclaves, arrested terrorists and intercepted terrorists’ logistics items including vehicles.

According him,  on 20 May 2021, troops had contact and engaged Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) criminal elements in Gwoza local government area  of Borno State. This occurred as troops swiftly responded to a distress call by farmers on attack on their location. Troops gallantly rescued the farmers.
During the encounter, several terrorists were neutralized, while some others escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds.
Also on same day, troops while conducting aggressive clearance operation on BHT’s hideouts at Ngaiwa, Tongunle, Washelle, Mo’o, Mudollo, Mugdalla and Amtul villages, all in Dikwa LGA of Borno State, killed scores of the terrorists and recovered large caches of arms and ammunition.

In related developments between 21 and 25 May, troops conducted cordon and search, raid operations and arrested BHT logistics suppliers at Ngamdu Town in Kaga LGA of Borno State, New Barracks Location along Damaturu – Potiskum road as well as Kukareta Town in Damaturu LGA of Yobe State. Items recovered during the operation include; large numbers of jerry can and drums of PMS, assorted arms and ammunition and assorted logistics items. This large consignment of logistics has drastically dislocated the terrorists’ logistics network in the region.
Meanwhile on 23 May 2021, the Air Task Force of Operation HADIN KAI conducted an extensive air interdiction missions near Gudumbali in Guzamal LGA and the Toumbuns of Lake Chad of Borno State.
The air interdiction missions executed with various NAF platforms resulted in the neutralization of scores of BHT criminal elements and destruction of their camps and logistics facilities.

Between 20 May and 2 June 2021, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI conducted and executed series of concurrent operations. These operations led to the arrest of kidnappers/bandits and gun runners, rescue of kidnapped victims, repelling of armed bandits’ attack and neutralization of scores of armed bandits as well as recovery of caches of arms and ammunition.
These operational achievements were recorded during troops’ aggressive patrols’; response to distress calls as well raid and ambush operations.
The operations were executed at Jalawa Village in Kibiya LGA of Kano State; Shombo Warari Market Road in Rijau LGA of Niger State; Lugu Village in Wurno LGA of Sokoto State; Hayin Daudu Village under Mada District in Gusau LGA of Zamfara State; Dangeza Road in Batsari LGA of Katsina State. The troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI have  dominated the operational areas with constant aggressive patrols.

While in North Central Zone of the Country were Operation SAFE HAVEN is ongoing its activities have resulted in the rescue of kidnapped victims, neutralization of scores of bandits, destruction of bandits’ hideouts and arrest of bandits.
On 20 May 2021 troops conducted a raid operation at Gana Ropp Village in Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State. The operation which took out some illicit drug peddlers’ hideouts, led to the arrest of some of the peddlers and impoundment of large quantities of cannabis sativa.
All arrested persons and recovered exhibits have been handed over to relevant agency for prosecution. In another development, on 24 May 2021, troops intervened in a clash between farmer/herder at Fubur in Jos East LGA of Plateau State.
The clash which was provoked by the destruction of farmlands by herders’ cattle was amicably resolved by troops, who invited both parties to peaceful dialogue.
In a similar development, troops were able to restore normalcy by ensuring the release of a herder who was abducted by Berom youths at Byei Village in Riyom LGA of Plateau State. The swift intervention of troops in both incidents averted imminent reprisal and retaliatory actions that would have resulted in bloodsheds in the Region.

Troops operational activities in Operation WHIRL STROKE within the period  include arrest of cultists and raid on bandits’ hideouts. On 20 May 2021, troops on the heels of credible intelligence arrested some cultists at Koko area of Adikpo Town in Kwande LGA of Benue State during a raid operation. Exchange of gun fires ensued between the troops and the cultists during the encounter, before some of them were arrested. Some arms and ammunition as well as other dangerous weapons were recovered from the cultists; however, 2 of our troops paid the supreme price during the encounter.

In another encounter, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE on 26 May 2021, neutralized several armed bandits and incapacitated some others in a raid operation. The raid operation was conducted on the bandits’ hideouts at a forest in Ankur Village in Katsina-Ala LGA of Benue State. Several arms and ammunition were also recovered from the criminal elements during the encounter.

Troops within Operation THUNDER STRIKE/WHIRL PUNCH theatres of operations engaged in various kinetic operations between 20 May and 2 June 2021. On 23 May 2021, troops responded to a distress call on abduction of 4 travellers along Gidan Waya – Godogodo – Jangindi Road in Jama’a LGA of Kaduna State. The swift response by troops led to the rescue of 2 of the victims, while efforts are ongoing to rescue the remaining 2 victims. Also, on 24 May 2021, troops conducted raid operation on a criminal hideout at Aiyedayo – Iyah – Gbede Road in Ijumu LGA of Kogi State. The kidnappers among other criminal activities abducted some residents from Iyah – Gbede Community a day before. During the operation, the criminals were arrested and handed over to appropriate agency for prosecution.
On its part, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE conducted series of kinetic operations against economic saboteurs and other socio-economic vices between 20 May and 2       June 2021. In Rivers State, troops immobilized several illegal refining sites along with numerous reservoirs and polythene bags of illegally refined oil products at different sites.

Troops also intercepted and deactivated boats and vehicles used for illegal bunkering and illegal economic activities as well as recovered large quantities of oil products and other items of economic value.

The operations were conducted at Ibaa and Elele-Alimini general areas of Emohua LGA; Komkom Community in Oyigbo LGA; Isaka axis in Degema LGA and Okpoworo area in Ahoada LGA. Other locations were, Bonny Town, Tamgbolo – Susu Community and Samkiri Community general areas as well as Coconut Estate Waterways, all in Bonny LGA. In Delta State, within the period in focus at different locations, troops arrested wooden boats and immobilized speed boats laden with contraband items and illegally refined oil products and crude oil in jerry cans. These operations took place at Abiteye area in Warri South and Opuama Creek in Warri North as well as Warri South LGAs of Delta State. Troops also arrested cultists on Oshoni Street at Ozoro in Isoko North LGA of the State. The arrested cultists have terrorized innocent people in the area.

In other encounters, own troops in Ikot Ekpene area arrested some IPOB/ESN members at Essien Udim LGA of Akwa-Ibom State following credible intelligence on the hoodlums’ activities in the area. The suspects were identified to be part of the IPOB/ESN members involved in killing and burning of policemen and stations in the area.

Also, troops arrested some members of the Scorpion Confraternity, who have been terrorizing and robbing people at Ikong-Offiong in Akpabayo LGA of Cross River State. Relatedly, troops on 23 May 2021 repelled members of IPOB/ESN attack on troops at Amoka Village in Udi LGA of Enugu State. During the encounter, a member of the IPOB/ESN was neutralized in contact and some arms and ammunition were recovered.

Furthermore, troops arrested some members of IPOB/ESN, including one Mr Black who has been on security operatives wanted list, at Ikot Akpan Town in Essien Udim LGA of Akwa-Ibom State. The criminals are reportedly among those responsible for the current wave of attacks, killings and burning of police operatives and stations in the Southern part of the Country. The hoodlums have been handed over to appropriate prosecuting agencies for necessary action.

General Onyeuko also said that troops of Operation AWATSE maintained constant vigilance and operational tempo as well as patrolled our waterways. On 20 May 2021, troops of Operation AWATSE arrested some members of the Aiye Confraternity at Omiyale Junction in Owode Egbado Village, Yewa South LGA of Ogun State. The cultists are said to be a group of notorious criminals who have been terrorizing innocent people in the area. The arrested cultists and weapons recovered have been handed over to appropriate prosecuting agency for necessary action.

The operations are the combined efforts of the military and other security agencies; involving land, maritime and air operations. It is worthy to note that these operations are conducted simultaneously in the various theatres of operation on daily basis across the Country.